A Good Morning to you—
XM Radio got cut off in my car the other day—I'd forgotten to re-up—so no more jazz, temporarily. I was forced to listen to (shudder) FM. The horror, the horror.
Time was when this wasn't allowed, but now there are giant conglomerates that control thousands of radio stations. Everything on them is calculated and focus-group tested and computer-controlled, with anodyne disc jockeys (if there are any at all) providing canned commentary but having no programming input. Little on these corporate megalith stations is legitimately local. The result is as stultifying as you could imagine: most radio stations play their same 500 songs interminably, in predetermined percentages, to formula, with just a very few entering or falling off the playlist now and then as a sort of cypher for the creep of time. As with much of capitalist-corporatist culture, it all makes economic sense—for the owners—but culturally, intellectually, emotionally and artistically it's sterile, sad, cynical and debased. (Of course there are some decent stations on the dial too.)
And, as regular readers might know, my personal bête noire is "American irony"—of which there is just way too much—and it's just as ironic as can be that what started out as rebellion and self-expression and protest and counter-culture—"classic rock"—has long since been co-opted completely into the power structure and is now simply a sop, pablum for the ears, ubiquitous, toothless. They play it softly in supermarkets and use it to sell shoes. I'm almost forced to hate classic rock just on principle. (I don't, quite.)
At least there was a limit...and it's a funny one. Janis Joplin, Michael McClure, and Bob Neuwirth's song "Mercedes Benz" was actually used for a Mercedes-Benz commercial for a short time (talk about irony), but Mercedes pulled it when even they realized that the song was specifically and explicitly a lampoon of, and protest against, mindless consumerism and consumerist one-upsmanship. You gotta love that there's a limit to stupidity even if it's buried way, way down in the mix.
(And please, no need to rise to the defense of capitalism. You know I haven't the slightest power against it and it doesn't need defending. It won. It rules. We know. Were I to let loose with my most immoderate screeds (of which this is not one, oh no) it would be like firing a Daisy BB gun at an Abrams M1 main battle tank.)
Have a positive day today, wherever in the world you find yourself.
"Morning Coffee" is auto-published weekdays at 3:30 a.m. Central Time today to be in time for morning coffee breaks in the UK and Europe. For those who rise later, it will be there. The feature is a month-long experiment to give people something to check in with while I'm busy moving. This is not permanent.
I'll write about anything. Want to suggest a topic or ask a question? You can leave it as a comment.
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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